indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Native American Bank - Native people investing in Native communities
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Tim Giago: Separating the mixed-bloods from the full bloods

Filed Under: Opinion
More on: termination, tim giago, utah, ute
     

Notes from Indian Country
By Tim Giago (Nanwica Kciji)
© Unity South Dakota

Racism isn’t just confined to individuals. Sometimes democratic governments are guilty of it.

Take the case of the Japanese Americans confined to concentration camps during World War II simply because they were Japanese; an injustice that was eventually corrected with restitution.

And then there are the strange cases that occurred in the 1950s under a federal government’s new policy called “termination.” A United States Senator from Utah named Arthur V. Watkins, a Republican, was the “terminator” in many of these cases.

Senator Watkins determined that the only way to treat the “Indian problem” was to eliminate it by taking away all of the government’s connections to the Indian tribes and setting them free. He believed he knew what was good for the Indians whether they consented to termination or not.

The policies of termination turned out to be so horrific for so many innocent Indians that the policy was eventually dropped and tribes that had been terminated were restored to their original status prior to termination.

One day about 20 years ago I got a letter from a lady named Oranna Felter, a former member of the Ute Indian Tribe of Utah who was no longer considered an Indian because she and 490 members of the tribe were terminated as Indians because they did not have 50 percent degree of Ute Indian blood. Every member of the tribe with 50 degrees or less was cut from the tribal rolls, or as Ms. Felter told me, “As if we were cattle or sheep.”

Last week Ms. Felter said, “We have put lawsuit after lawsuit in the courts and we have been kicked out each time. We don’t have any income so we’ve had to do this on donations from our people who are not rich. After years and years of struggles to regain what we lost, our lands, gas, oil, minerals, and our identity, we are fed up. My people are old and tired, our babies on the rolls are now in their early 60s and I have seen horror stories you could never imagine that has happened to my people. I told my kids the hardest fight I ever had to fight was to be who I am and who I was born, an American Indian.”

She added, “When your own tribe is kicking you in the teeth because they don’t want to share with you, it’s pretty damned hard.”

The 490 terminated Ute Indians said no to termination. And yet because they were of mixed-blood, they were singled out for termination while the rest full bloods of the Ute Tribe were not.

In 1975, Congress set up the American Indian Policy Review Commission headed by Senator James Abourezk of South Dakota and Congressman Lloyd Meeds of Washington. Task Force Ten, under this Commission, was headed by Jo Jo Hunt with members, John Stevens, Robert V. Bojarcas and George E. Tomer. Their job was to investigate “Terminated and Non Federally Recognized American Indians and the effects of Termination.

They visited the Ute Reservation and named the 490 terminated mixed-bloods “The Terminated Uinta Band of Utes of Utah.” The Task Force determined that “Termination was another “experiment” however ill-conceived and destructive with no controls and no provisions for reversal. Termination was not initiated by the Indians, was not adequately understood by them and was not for the most part “not consented by them.”

The terminated Uinta Band of Utes were given slips of paper called “Shares” that, in the most complicated legal talk, supposedly explained to the terminated Indians how their lands would be handled after termination. The Shares were held in Trust and each individual Indian was treated as a child by the Trustee in determining the value and disposal of the “Shares.”

Many of the “Shares” which included land and mineral rights were snapped up by local Mormons and by some corporations. It should also be noted that when Ute lands were broken up into allotments under the Dawes Act of 1887 and each individual Ute’s name was put on the list of allotees, after all of the land was accounted for there remained thousands of acres that were not allotted. These lands were put up for sale to the general public and the parents of Sen. Arthur V. Watkins snapped up many acres of this Ute land. The Dawes Act was another federal act by the United States to Americanize the Indian and another slick way to gain millions of acres of Indian land.

In 1975 the American Indian Policy Review Commission made recommendations to restore terminated tribes to their original status. That was a long time ago and the Uinta Band of Utes is still waiting.

Ms. Felter told me that of the 490 terminated Utes many are dying and most are elderly and ill. “When I was terminated I was 11 years old and I did not and could not vote for termination. All I know is we were forcibly subjected to the de-indianization Senator Watkins concocted for us. When I was still very young my parents died as a result of post-termination deprivation and disease as did my younger sister and many others.”

She concluded, “Tim, we have been very patient, but we can wait no longer. Our children and our children’s children are depending on us to find a way to recover the Treaty Rights stolen from us. We need your help. We have tried to follow conventional rules and policies to make our voices heard, but we have been ignored, ridiculed, abused and shut out.”

A part of what Oranna Felter expressed to me was sent in a letter to President Barak Obama. I hope that someone reads this column and writes to their Congressman and that Obama reads the letter from Ms. Felter and that justice will finally come to the terminated Uinta Band of Utes to correct a horrible injustice foisted upon them so many years ago.

If the government can act to bring justice for the Japanese Americans, surely they can find a way to bring justice to the Uinta Band of Utes, the First Americans.

Oranna Felter can be reached at mykewass@ubtanet.com for more information.

Tim Giago, an Oglala Lakota, was born, raised and educated on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. He was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard in the Class of 1991. He was inducted into the South Dakota Newspaper Hall of Fame in 2007. He can be reached at Unitysodak1@knology.net

More from Tim Giago:
Tim Giago: Was the Indian Reorganization Act good or bad? (1/28)
Tim Giago: Eulogies for three great leaders in Indian Country (1/21)
Tim Giago: The destruction of Wounded Knee by AIM in 1973 (1/14)
Tim Giago: 'Wiping away the tears' after Wounded Knee 1890 (12/31)
Tim Giago: Incompetence overwhelms at Bureau of Indian Affairs (1/7)


Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Northern Cheyenne student receives top honor (5/22)
Lakota Country Times: Newspaper takes home a slew of awards (5/22)
James Davies: The new tactic is to pretend racism doesn't exist (5/22)
Thomas O'Rourke: Yurok Tribe is a leader in forest restoration (5/22)
Terese Marie Mailhot: Message to all young Native Americans (5/22)
Matt Remle: Tribal nations take a stand to protect Turtle Island (5/22)
DOJ proposes bill to improve access to voting in Indian Country (5/22)
Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate ready to exercise VAWA jurisdiction (5/22)
Grande Ronde Tribes await decision on flying flag at high school (5/22)
Cherokee Nation sues pharmaceutical firms over drug products (5/22)
Snoqualmie Tribe reports result of election for five council seats (5/22)
Law Article: Navajo Nation wages battle over 'Navajo' products (5/22)
Review: A son leads his father into the wild with 'Medicine Walk' (5/22)
Saginaw Chippewa Tribe to distribute $2.7M in gaming revenues (5/22)
Prairie Island Indian Community eyes $19M expansion at casino (5/22)
Creek Nation seeks Native workers for $329M casino expansion (5/22)
Eastern Shawnee Tribe to debut rodeo event at reopened casino (5/22)
Opinion: Poarch Creeks need state to protect gaming enterprise (5/22)
Native Sun News: North Dakota tribe hit with another brine spill (5/21)
Lakota Country Times: NAIHC presents honor for lifetime service (5/21)
Ivan Star: I'm finding it hard to stand for 'Star Spangled Banner' (5/21)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee holds field hearing in Oklahoma (5/21)
Haskell University announces cuts to troubled athletics program (5/21)
Crystal Echo Hawk: Indian Country still invisible to philanthropy (5/21)
Judge won't require school to allow eagle feather at graduation (5/21)
School apologizes for teaching song about brutal Indian mission (5/21)
Coquille Tribe hosts National Indian Timber Symposium in June (5/21)
Pokagon Band to file land-into-trust application at housing site (5/21)
St. Regis Mohawk Tribe to hold election for chief and sub-chief (5/21)
Keweenaw Bay Indian Community to honor Civil War veterans (5/21)
Yakama Nation woman sentenced to 10 years for child abuse (5/21)
Heroin blamed for crash near Saginaw Chippewa Tribe school (5/21)
Navajo Nation business opens tech data center in New Mexico (5/21)
Opinion: Indian Country left out of nation's economic recovery (5/21)
Review: 'Hoop Jumper' offers look at allotment era in Oklahoma (5/21)
Opinion: Putting a woman on $20 bill might not be an easy task (5/21)
Opinion: Today's Indian wars are being fought over new casinos (5/21)
Oneida Nation close to opening of new gaming facility on June 2 (5/21)
Tribes hail movement on bill for one more casino in Connecticut (5/21)
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe hoping for casino decision this year (5/21)
Forest County Potawatomi Tribe buys properties next to casino (5/21)
Native Sun News: Cheyenne River elder cast in forthcoming film (5/20)
Lakota Country Times: Oglala Sioux fighter set for new matches (5/20)
Audio from Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing on water (5/20)
NCAIED set to return to DC with Reservation Economic Summit (5/20)
Mary Pember: New allies in battle against Indian youth suicide (5/20)
Harlan McKosato: It's time to change school policy on feathers (5/20)
Bryan Newland: Important context on land-into-trust process (5/20)
Jay Daniels: Indian Country forced to choose among two evils (5/20)
Anthony Trujillo: A cultural ambassador with the Peace Corps (5/20)
Mark Rogers: Some truths of the ethnic experience in America (5/20)
Indian schools go without fixes while military schools see $5B (5/20)
Indian student in federal court over right to wear eagle feather (5/20)
Pascua Yaqui Tribe hosts Violence Against Women Act training (5/20)
Tribal traditions put to use for battle against substance abuse (5/20)
Apology sought for treatment of tribes at grizzly bear meeting (5/20)
SCOTUSBlog: DOJ urges denial of petition in tribal court dispute (5/20)
County board calls on NFL team to eliminate its racist mascot (5/20)
Native Sun News: Northern Cheyenne Tribe names casino hire (5/20)
Judge again refuses to stop Jamul Band from building casino (5/20)
Connecticut lawmakers weigh bill for one more tribal casino (5/20)
Judge dismisses gaming case filed by Cayuga Nation faction (5/20)
Native casino in Saskatchewan on track with expansion plan (5/20)
Native Sun News: Program helps offenders rebuild their lives (5/19)
Lakota Country Times: Oglala Sioux Tribe seeks water funding (5/19)
Native Sun News: Comments sought on North Dakota pipeline (5/19)
Mark Trahant: Indian Country finds success in diabetes battle (5/19)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.